Cover & Excerpt
She doesn’t need a hero. But a sexy Marine…that’ll work.
Though Lauren Baxter’s world is a blurry mess of colors, she has no tolerance for pity. With the help of her guide dog, Jack Sparrow, she’s built a good life for herself. She has everything she wants: her PhD, a thriving counseling practice and her independence.
When she meets her new neighbor, the man’s warm Texas accent and clean male scent weaken her knees. Her attraction to the former Marine is mutual and, unfortunately, a complication she doesn’t need.
Gabriel Briggs carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. He has his reasons for indulging only in short-term flings, but the feisty, green-eyed Lauren makes him want to forget every one.
In a rare moment of fragility, Lauren winds up in Gabe’s arms. One night together can’t break their self-imposed rules, right? But when a woman from Gabe’s past is murdered, the reasons he should have stayed away become painfully clear, threatening innocent lives he may not be able to save—especially Lauren’s.
Product Warnings: Contains a blind therapist who doesn’t consider herself impaired; a meddling, erotic-novel-writing best friend; a hot ex-Marine with a shady past; and a loyal guide dog that howls “I love you” and is probably the sanest one of the bunch.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content/Theme(s): Ex-Marine, Therapist, Blindness, Suspense
Release Date: June 2, 2015
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Gabe locked the front door and headed to his pickup. The decision was made. He needed to move his pitiful ass into the cabin immediately. A woman he barely knew had him confessing things he’d never told anyone else, and the scariest part: he caught himself reconsidering nonnegotiable promises. Those were fantasies he couldn’t afford. Not when other lives counted on him. He glanced over at her place and stopped dead in his tracks.
Speak of the devil.
Hands on her hips, Lauren stood talking to the cabbie parked in her driveway. Her hair was twisted in a knot. The dark blue, strapless summer dress she wore had his gaze lingering over her long neck and tanned shoulders. His mouth watered at the memory of how sweet her covered parts tasted last night.
There was something about her that hooked him. Yes, she was beautiful, but there was more. It was how her eyes crinkled when she laughed. All the smart-ass things she’d say. The soothing way her voice melted his guard. And when she touched him, it was as if she was sticking her hands inside him, picking up every one of his painful pieces, and for just a little while gluing them back together.
What the fuck am I saying?
He looked away and continued to his truck. She’d find the right person one day, and whoever the man was would be one lucky bastard.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t help you,” the cabbie said.
Gabe put the last of the supplies into the large metal toolbox and padlocked the lid.
“He’s a guide dog. Isn’t it against the law for you to refuse services because of him?” Lauren asked.
He bit back his urge to help.
For him, the girl spelled trouble.
“The sign right there says no animals.” The driver pointed to the backseat window.
She grinned. “And if I wasn’t blind, I’m sure I would have seen it.”
Gabe chuckled. He loved her fake smile. Leaning against the truck, he watched the performance.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t—I mean, you don’t look blind.”
Still grinning, she cleared her throat and pulled on the dog’s harness. “I am. Which is why I need my guide dog. He goes everywhere with me.”
The beast raised its ears and looked at Gabe. He averted his eyes, pulled off his baseball cap and tucked it into his jean pocket. Her monster of a pet was making him feel guilty as hell.
“I’m sorry, but I’m allergic to animals. He can’t come in my taxi.”
“I can pay you extra for your troubles. The place is a few blocks after the highway. It would only be ten minutes of your time.”
“Look, ma’am. It’s not going to happen. If you want, I’ll call another car to pick you up.”
After a long pause, she shook her head and bit her lip. “No, it’s fine. I understand. Thank you.”
A few seconds later, the cab pulled away. Lauren stood cross-armed, staring out.
Gabe gripped the truck to make sure his legs didn’t get any crazy ideas.
This is not my problem. Maybe if he said it enough times, he’d believe it.
“Come on, Jack. It’s time for Plan B,” she said and grabbed the dog’s holster.
Stunned, he watched the two stroll down the road. She said the place was a few blocks after the highway. Which meant they’d be walking alongside one of the busiest boulevards in Denver for a few yards before she’d ever reach the interstate. He looked at his watch. Four fifty, on a Friday afternoon. The two would be smack dab in front of the I25 overpass during rush hour traffic—a dangerous situation for anyone, much less a blind woman.
She wouldn’t, would she?
When Lauren got to the end of the street and turned left, he cursed under his breath.
Yeah, she would.
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